January 28 - 1814: British warship shells the town of Falmouth

2006: Man uses MySpace to buy his Cape Cod home
HMS Nimrod from a painting in the Falmouth Historical Society.

1814: HMS Nimrod bombards Falmouth

A cannonball hole is still visible in a local restaurant's Men's Room

On this day in 1814, the British warship Nimrod shelled the town of Falmouth for several hours during the War of 1812 for refusing to surrender two cannons and a sloop.

The 18-gun Nimrod had arrived in American waters the year before and quickly established herself as a menace, capturing the 20-gun privateer Yorktown in July 1813 with the aid of two other British vessels.

That autumn, the Nimrod was assigned to patrol along with the coast of New England with a squadron of British warships. The squad established itself at Tarpaulin Cove on Naushon Island, a site well-known to sailors because of an inn situated there. The innkeeper, a man remembered as Mr. Slocum, is said to have overheard the Nimrod's crew discussing their plans to attack Falmouth, and he alerted the town.

On Jan. 28, the captain of the Nimrod warned Falmouth of his plans to bombard the  town unless its residents surrendered its two cannon and the sloop docked at present-day Surf Drive. The response - If you want our cannons, you can come and get them, but we'll give you what's in them first.

hms_nimrod_cannon_hole_327_01Falmouth resident John Crocker, whose Shore Street home is now the central building of Shoreway Acres, described what happened in a Feb. 1 account published in the New England Palladium:

During the interim the flag frequently passed; the militia was fast collecting; the town was in utmost confusion; the inhabitants removing the sick, the women, children and furniture.

About the time set the cannonading began, and continued with very little intermission until night, and several guns in the night, making in all about three hundred from their thirty-two pounders, besides their smaller ones.

This morning (Jan. 29) at sunrise, she sailed westward, supposed to join a ship of war said to be in Tarpaulin Cove. Fortunately no lives were lost and no person hurt.

The damage done to houses, outbuildings and salt-works has been considerable, the amount of which is now not known. The greatest sufferer was myself, having eight thirty-two pound shot through my house, some through my outbuildings, and many through my salt-works. The greatest part of the furniture in the house was destroyed. The other principal sufferers were Elijah Swift, Silas Jones, Thomas Bourne, Jehabad Hatch, Rev. Henry Lincoln, Shubael Hatch Jr., etc., etc. in damage done houses, salt-works, etc.

Among the other buildings hit were the present-day Elm Arch Inn, then the home of Silas Jones, and the Nimrod Restaurant, both of which have been moved from where they were during the war.

(Above: A cannonball hole from the bombardment is still visible in a wall at the Nimrod, but only to half the restaurant's visitors - it's in the men's room, as shown in this photo. Photo credit, www.travel-watch.com)

2006: The house on Memory Lane

A Cape Cod native wants to buy back his childhood home, and is seeking $1 donations on his MySpace site to help him pull it off

homeward_bound_projectOn this day in 2006 the Boston Globe reported that before the Internet made everyone an author, writers recalled their early lives in memoirs and autobiographies thinly disguised as novels.

But when Brad Ford decided it was time to backtrack to the comfort zone of his childhood, he logged onto MySpace.com and created the Homeward Bound Project

The 26-year-old Cape Cod native wants to buy back his childhood home (on right) in South Harwich that is for sale -- again. But as a liquor store clerk , Ford can't afford the $1,795,000 asking price. So electronic bulletin board that it is, Ford is using his MySpace page to solicit donations, at $1 a piece, to help him.

As Ford writes, the house's monetary cost is nothing compared to its emotional wealth. "My grandmother was the person who raised me," he said on the site, "and it was a sad day for me when we sold the house, because that's the home I grew up in." His grandmother died in 1992 after a five-month battle with bladder cancer. It was a rude end to a happy childhood spent there.

The three-bedroom cedar-shingled Cape-style house is on Uncle Venies Road, just a quarter mile from Red River Beach. It has been sold four times since the family was forced to give it up in 1993 for $385,000, Ford said.

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